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October 15, 2019

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Mitten crab fishing sees 420-gram giant catch

The Huangpu River mitten crab fishing opened yesterday in suburban Songjiang District, the river’s source, with the heaviest “crab king” of the day weighing 420 grams.

This year’s opening was a few days later than last year due to higher temperatures in the early days while the crabs were bigger.

“Big crabs” ­— male crabs weighing up to 200 grams and females up to 150 grams — accounted for about 80 percent of the total, a record high.

At the Yuyue Aquatic Product Cooperative in Songjiang’s Maogang area, the largest breeding base of home-bred mitten crab in Shanghai, fishermen lifted their crab nets out of the water yesterday morning.

Lang Yuelin, president of the cooperative, said the proportion of “big crabs” last year was some 60 percent and this year saw an obvious increase. This year the cooperative’s yield of crabs was about 75,000 kilograms and so far 5,000kg have been ordered by customers.

“We created a ‘Songjiang mode’ for our crab breeding. The crab density in our ponds is low. We only have 500 to 600 crabs in each mu (666.67 square meters) of the pond. But the waters are all covered by certain aquatic plants to form a good ecological system for the crabs,” Lang told Shanghai Daily. “So the crabs can grow healthy and in good quality. And we haven’t used any chemicals on them.”

Lang said they have both online and offline stores. About 70 percent of the crabs will be on local tables while the rest will be sold to other provinces and exported to countries such as Japan, South Korea and Singapore.

Wang Chenghui, a professor at Shanghai Ocean University, helped develop new and better mitten crab species for local breeders. The current Jianghai (river and ocean) 21 species is the 7th generation and it took his team 14 years to cultivate. He said they will continue their research to bring bigger and nicer mitten crabs for residents.


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